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Temba Mliswa: Coach, Con-Man
By Foster Niumata
When Temba Mliswa came to Rugby’s offices 10 years ago, he seemed to be the answer to many prayers.
He was a rugby coach.
He was 22, intelligent, ambitious and had a broad knowledge of rugby. He talked of wanting to learn as much about rugby as possible so he could go home to Zimbabwe and help the growing black rugby population, which he said was ill served by the white-dominated Zimbabwe Rugby Union. It was politically correct talk, and Temba’s enthusiasm and Zimbabwe’s dismal rugby record made him a person one would be eager to help.
Prior to coming to the US, Mliswa had talked his way into an invitation to England, where he set up his coaching credentials. He subsequently received a free three-month rugby education in New Zealand, and then accepted an invitation to come to the United States to pass on his wisdom.
Here in the US, as in the United Kingdom, his coaching was helpful and appreciated.
But too late, it was discovered that his rugby skills were wrapped in a web of deception and immaturity, spun out of a shyster mind on a forked tongue.
And after he suddenly disappeared from the United States, leaving a trail of debts with those he had become involved, including RugbyMagazine, the publication kept a distant eye on his life of deceit.
Mliswa’s story is a cautionary tale of trust and betrayal in which rugby was one of the losers.
According to Mliswa, he was lucky to attend a mixed-race junior school in Harare, Zimbabwe, where he learned to play rugby. Temba said he began playing at eight, captained his high school, and ultimately earned Zimbabwe Under-21 honors.
When renowned English public school Harrow toured Zimbabwe, Mliswa met its coach, former British Lion and England Grand Slam coach Roger Uttley. Uttley invited Mliswa to England during the 1991 World Cup to become a qualified coach.
Mliswa passed the English coaching tests, and Uttley used his influence to secure Mliswa coaching stints with Harrow, Eton and London Wasps Under-18s – names that stand out on any resume.
For more practical experience, Mliswa found work at Middlesex Division III club Feltham and English South West Division II side Marlow. There he was contacted by another acquaintance, Ed Burrell of New York’s White Plains RFC, which had toured Zimbabwe. Burrell informed Mliswa there was a coaching job available at the all-Japanese Keio Academy in Purchase, NY. Mliswa accepted, but first went to New Zealand as a guest of the NZRFU for a three-month crash course in coaching.
Mliswa started coaching at Keio in August of 1993, and parlayed his experience and press clippings from English rugby magazines and small-town newspapers into simultaneous coaching roles at Manhattanville College and the Village Lions RFC in New York.
Mliswa then came to RugbyMagazine, armed with a resume that glowed with famous names and press clippings. Impressed by his clippings and the fact that young Mliswa was simultaneously coaching three different New York clubs, this magazine ran a full-page story on the Harare charmer in March 1994 under the headline "Born to Coach," which unwittingly contributed to his scam plans.
Mliswa did and said the right things. On the disappointing support for US high school and college programs, he said, "I only wish there could be 100 Tembas to help out. It’s a pity I can’t be in 100 places at one time."
His ambition, however, outran his mouth and wallet in August 1994, when he took a select squad of 11-to-14-year-olds from New York to the AAU Junior Olympics at Satellite Beach, Florida. He mistakenly believed the tournament would provide a sponsor. Then he vainly thought he could find a sponsor, and finally ended up borrowing money from parents and friends.
Temba’s team finished fifth or sixth in its six-team division and while Mliswa was credited as a good coach, he was slammed as an irresponsible tour leader, who wasn’t worthy of parents’ trust. Managers of other tournament teams said Mliswa told the kids not to listen to their parents, and allowed them out unsupervised until 3 am. One coach described Mliswa as "a snake oil salesman" and another said he was a "smash-and-grab artist" out to "add something to his resume."
Mliswa failed to pay for his squad’s jerseys, and unable or unwilling to pay his $1,100+ hotel bill - including a $300 charge for damages - persuaded former Rugby editor Andy Koepfler to cover his hotel bill with a credit card. The payback check to Koepfler bounced, as did Mliswa.
In a huge financial hole, Mliswa suddenly quit Keio, one step ahead of bill collectors and angry alumni, and he also left Manhattanville with debts of $2,800.
He returned home to Zimbabwe and like most con artists, found other avenues to exploit.
He became a fitness trainer for the national soccer team, then a member of the national soccer association’s technical committee, which was dissolved, and a director of development and coaching at the Zimbabwe Rugby Union. Worst of all, he joined the ruling Zanu-PF party and became one of the most outspoken supporters of corrupt President Robert Mugabe.
Back in London in 2001, Mliswa ran a recruitment agency, Education UK Ltd that promised placement for Zimbabweans anxious to enter the United Kingdom for a registration fee of 100 pounds. The company purportedly specialized in the recruitment of students, teachers and nurses but at least nine of Mliswa’s clients were deported back to Zimbabwe in February of 2001 alone; and none of them received a refund. Mliswa finally ran afoul of British immigration officials, who closed down his con and kicked him out of Britain in 2002.
Before he was forced home, he formed a pressure group in Zimbabwe called Pioneers of Black Cricket, which aimed to increase black representation in the national cricket team.
After Mugabe decided in 1999 that whites had to give up their farms and land to impoverished blacks, Mliswa finally joined the land grab. In January of 2003, he led a gang takeover of a farm owned by Alan and Jenny Parsons, assaulting Jenny and threatening to kill the family if it returned. The Parsons family remained displaced even when they later returned with police.
When the Parsons visited their property with police three months later to take stock of inventory, they were attacked by Mliswa and his gang, one of whom pulled the trigger of an unloaded rifle against the head of Alan Parsons.
He ran unsuccessfully for chairman of the Zimbabwe Football Association, and earlier this year, a plan by a new Mliswa company to open a soccer academy in Zimbabwe was scuttled. The chief Belgian investor withdrew because Mliswa failed to provide a budget for the proposal and was too busy "farming."
In September of this year, some semblance of retribution fell on Mliswa. He was allegedly manhandled and had his car damaged by a group of men in the town of Karoi and he later vacated what was now considered his farm "following threats by some unknown people". Following his departure, newspapers reported "massive theft of farm equipment" from Mliswa’s Spring Farm in Karoi.
EXPERT INTERVIEW: Jan Lamprecht Explains African Political Crises
1/14/2005By Ryan Mauro
Jan Lamprecht was born and raised in Zimbabwe during the bush war, which
resulted in Robert Mugabe coming to power. He was educated in Harare, the
capital of the country, before leaving for South Africa, where he spent some
time in the Navy. He wrote a book called "Government by deception" about African
politics related to Zimbabwe and the effects Mugabe's policies may have on other
RM: Mr. Lamprecht, first off, explain why Americans concerned about national security should care about Africa. Is there any strategic importance?
JL: Well, the Russians seemed to think Africa had tremendous strategic value because of (a) Its vast mineral riches (b) The Cape Sea Route - which to this day carries the sea-going vessels which can't pass through the Suez Canal - so super-tankers containing oil ply the routes around South Africa - along with much other traffic.
The Russians once boasted that by controlling the Middle East Oil and Southern African's Minerals they would defeat the West. Southern Africa, apart from Botswana is now ruled by their Puppets like the ANC.
In recent years a lot of Oil is also being discovered in both West and East Africa. I was told by a geologist that there may be oil fields the size of the North Sea off the coast of Namibia. So as we discover even more minerals and oil in Africa... its importance to the West should increase.
The USA is also now realizing that Africa (because parts of it has Muslims), could become a major breeding ground for even more Al-Qaeda terrorism.
The USA has been training armies in Africa to help in its war on terror. My suspicion is that like the Iraqi Militia, these "African Armies" will be less than useless in helping the USA. I suspect that the African Armies will do very little to actually help the USA in the war on terrorism.
RM: You've read Robert Mugabe's book, who is the anti-American dictator of Zimbabwe. According to his book, what are his plans for Africa?
JL: The future Africa he describes is a very racist one. He is only interested in Black people and their future. Mugabe wants Africa as a whole (which is larger than the USA and China put together), to be a Military Power. He wants a united (black) Africa which (a) Gets aid from the Western world (b) Tells the Western world where to "get off". He wants blacks as a whole to be united, while getting rid of all "vestiges of colonialism" (which means white people and their institutions). Mugabe hates not only the USA but the Western world as a whole. He wants to see Africa Militarily and politically united.
RM: Libya is disarming. They've cut off contact with terrorists, helped us reveal the network of AQ Khan, and cut off military trade with rogue states. They are pledging sweeping reforms. Do you feel that Gadhafi has genuinely understood that he has more security by being pro-American than anti-American?
JL: No. I have some military contacts in the Middle East. They tell me the real reason Gadhafi did this was because he was secretly co-operating with Iran, Egypt and others on working on a nuclear bomb (for attacking Israel)... But when the Americans discovered his nuclear program he decided to come clean rather than face being wiped out as Saddam was. Apparently Egypt and the other Arabs in on the secret are fuming mad at Gadhafi for being a tattle tale. Gadhafi helped train the terrorists who now run South Africa, Zimbabwe, etc. He is firmly an enemy of the West, but he realized in this case, if he continues to anger the USA... they might put him out of commission.
This is proof that terror works very effectively against terrorists.
RM: What is the significance of the growth of radical Islam in South Africa?
JL: I am told that in the Koran, it actually says that black people can't be Muslims [ed. This is according to some very strict interpretations]. Nevertheless, in parts of Africa (not all of Africa), Islam is spreading like wild fire. In Nigeria there is tremendous Black Christian Vs Black Muslim strife which has killed thousands in recent years. In South Africa we have more than a million Indians (from India), and colored people. This is where Islam is spreading the most. The ANC and the South African Communists are firmly on the side of the radical Muslims. They want to destroy Israel. The South African government stands firmly on the side of Israel's enemies. They are also firmly on the side of the radical Muslims and terrorists. It has been rumored that we have helped to train Islamic terrorists here, but I've come across no firm proof yet.
RM: Are you concerned about the rumors that South Africa never fully disarmed, and that nuclear components, and chemical/biological weapons may be in dangerous hands? Or is this paranoia?
JL: No not at all. I believe this is merely a rumor. As silly as De Klerk was in handing over to the ANC, I can't imagine even him handing them our nuclear weapons. We apparently had 6 nuclear bombs. De Klerk says all these were disarmed and destroyed and international monitors actually saw proof of the process.
I am not sure what the status of chemical/biological weapons is. My understanding is that these things can be created easily. So if we created them before, then theoretically we could make them again any time we want.
RM: Some have speculated that Egypt, due to the growth of radical Islam, has decided to use the Saudi tactic to fight terrorism--bribe them into not attacking them. Is there any reason to believe these accusations?
JL: My Middle East sources inform me that Egypt and even Saudi Arabia are actually on the side of the radical terrorists. I am told that Egypt is working hard to help the Palestinians. Among the things I was told is that Egypt has been working, in a very cunning manner, to prepare for a future attack on Israel. Not long ago I read a fascinating book on military deception which described in detail how excellently, and with tremendous forethought, the Egyptians planned a surprise attack on Israel in the 1973 October war. The Egyptians caught even the Israelis off guard. My military sources inform me, that there are new, even more amazing preparations. Apparently, the Egyptians have been digging huge tunnels under the Suez Canal through which Tanks, etc can go. Currently, in Gaza the terrorists are being supplied with Russian weaponry from tunnels. I am trying to get more details on this process. The Egyptians have also been very friendly with the Russians, and it appears Russian weaponry is reaching Gaza ....
Note too, how modern advanced Russian weaponry was responsible for shooting down many US helicopters in Iraq. The Russians are fully supplying all the terrorist weaponry. Funny that nobody notices this?
RM: What is causing the growth of radical Islam in Africa and where is it the most dangerous?
JL: I'm told that radical Islam provides a stronger moral base than "wishy washy Christianity". I don't think radical Islam is a factor in South Africa. Some think so. I do not. Blacks, en masse, are not falling for Islam. They are however WILLING ALLIES of radical Islam because the Russians are behind Radical Islam just as they were behind Black Liberation. Hence all terrorists are really ideological allies since they (a) Have Russia and China as friends (b) Hate the West and the USA.
The situation of Israel today is not unlike Apartheid/Colonial Africa. The same people who caused so much trouble in Africa are hard at work causing that same trouble in the Middle East. The Russians said they would control the Middle East Oil and Southern Africa's minerals. They're got the minerals... now they need to get the oil...
RM: What countries in Africa appear to be US allies and which ones are definitely have the anti-American agenda?
JL: Uganda and Botswana seem to be the firmest US Allies. The ones who hate the USA the most (but may at times hide it) are: South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Angola. There is a move by Mugabe, which will include South Africa and Namibia - to spread this anti-US hatred to the rest of Africa. With South Africa's tremendous political muscle... in Africa... this could happen. It may take some time. The ANC has to tread warily...
RM: Is Algeria making progress in their War on Terror, particularly in fighting the rebel forces?
JL: I can't answer this. But I will say this: I think the USA's emphasis on training African forces to help in the war on terror will largely turn out to be money wasted. Just as the USA wasted $1 billion training the Iraqi Police and Militia, so too, do I believe, the Africans will quietly wimp out and feign stupidity and leave any terrorists in Africa to grow and strengthen and to operate from here. I also read that Middle East terrorists are busy in Columbia/Brazil, etc building huge organized crime syndicates and sending tens of millions of dollars to their pals in the Middle East to fight Israel and the USA.
I feel the war on terror is going badly. I would not be surprised if a terrorist incident(s) bigger than 9/11 were to occur on US soil in the future. I think the USA is applying the wrong tactics completely, and this war is far from over. I think many thousands of American soldiers and civilians will yet die... and this could even grow into a much bigger conflict. I think the USA will have to patrol the entire planet in an effort to curb these terrorists... and the terrorists will be everywhere.
Ryan Mauro has been a geopolitical analyst for Tactical Defense Concepts (www.tdconcepts.com), a maritime-associated security company, since 2002. In 2003, Mr. Mauro joined the Northeast Intelligence Network (www.homelandsecurityus.com), which specializes in tracking and assessing terrorist threats. He has been published in WorldNetDaily.com, Newsmax.com, StrategyPage.com, WorldTribune.com, HomelandSecurityUS.com, JRNyquist.com and in the Turkistan Newsletter (Turkistan Bulteni). He is a frequent writer for Milnet.com as well. He has appeared on radio shows including The Al Rantel Show, WIBG Radio, WorldNetDaily Radioactive with Joseph Farah, Jeff Nyquist Program, Kevin McCullough Show, Laurie Roth Show, Tovia Singer Show, Stan Major Show, and Preparedness Now. His book "Death to America: The Unreported Battle of Iraq" is scheduled to be published in the coming months. He publishes his own web site called World Threats. Mr. Mauro may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org